Tuesday, February 21, 2017

God Knows Our Needs

Recently, I have been looking back over our almost 40 years in ministry.  Having married very early, we have had our share of ups and downs in ministry.  We literally had to grow up and figure out life together.

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn is that God is always near and that He knows our needs.  Only in these last few years can I honestly say finances are not as tight.  Oh, we still budget, cut out things we would really like to have, and drive our vehicles until they literally quit running or can’t be repaired.  However, we do have some wiggle room to do some fun vacations or to make a “want” purchase. This was not true in our early ministry life.

Our first church out of seminary was a small, rural church in Northeast Texas.  We adored (and still do) those people and have wonderful memories of our time there.  We had a nice parsonage but we had to pay all the expenses, upkeep, etc. on a very poor salary.  There were days that we had no food on the table and no money to purchase it.  However, God knew our need.  Out of the blue a church member would drive up to drop off a package of fresh beef, chicken or garden-picked vegetables.  Yes, God knew our needs.

When our youngest child was two months old, he spent eight terrifying days in the hospital with pneumonia.  Those were dark days of uncertainly not knowing if he would survive and how we would ever pay the hospital bill.  On top of that it was Christmas and we had a three-year-old at home expecting presents under the tree.  However, God knew our needs.  Our child recovered, and we were able to purchase a couple of gifts for our oldest child.  It was also the only year this small, rural church gave us a Christmas gift-$300.  We used that money to start paying the hospital bill.  Yes, God knew our needs.

Years have passed and God still surprises me.  Since I am the “keeper of the budget,” I know exactly what we have and what we can and can’t purchase. A few years ago, our current church voted to redo the preschool and children areas and to raise the money upfront. Every member was challenged to give sacrificially.  My husband and I did not have much money to put toward the project but we made a large commitment.  God knew our need.  Shortly before writing that first large-to-us check, I received a pay out on my dad’s life insurance policy.  When I filed the paperwork on the policy a few weeks prior, I was told it would be two or three months before it would be processed. Surprise, it came in month!  Because of that money, we were able to cover our commitment to the church project and then some.  Yes, God knows our need. 

Sisters, I know times can be financially difficult.  Kids get sick, cars break down, refrigerators quit, etc.   Many ministers do not make large salaries, and even with the wife working, we still live on limited budges . . .and energy.  Don’t get discouraged.  God promises to provide for our needs not necessarily our wants. 

Mediate on these words from Phil. 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

True Love

Valentine’s Day……hearts, candy, cards, gifts, jewelry, dinner dates, etc.

My sisters, is this one of your favorite holidays? I love the holiday because I really like hearts, candy (especially chocolate candy), cards, and of course I really like receiving gifts! But what if there were no hearts, candy, cards, and gifts? Would I still like this holiday? What about you?

Valentine’s Day is all about expressing your feelings for the ones you love. It’s fun to let the beloved people in our lives know how much we care by giving them a small token of our affection. Also, for those who are single, widowed, or don’t have a significant “other” in your life, you still have special people in your life, maybe parents, siblings or friends, whom you can remember on this day.

Since Valentines’ Day is all about love, it can also be a time to reflect on the One who displayed His awesome, wonderful, unconditional, sacrificial love for us all by giving up His life by being nailed to a cross. Our Savior suffered, bled, and died to pay the ultimate price for the forgiveness of our sins. We all deserve punishment for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). But God so loved this sin cursed world that He sent Jesus, so we could believe in Him for the forgiveness of our sins and live with Him forever in a perfect glorious place called heaven!

Even if there were no hearts, candy, cards, or gifts, we are loved. In fact, we are loved lavishly! The Lord Jesus Christ has perfect love for us; and the only way we know how to love others is because He first loved us.

So, as you enjoy the holiday with all of its pleasantries, think about our one True Love. Think about Jesus.

“We know what real love is because Christ gave up His life for us.” I John 3:16 (New Living Translation)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Prayer Request

Monday I blogged about "Prayer Changes Things"..........the man who had to have emergency surgery out of the states is doing well, considering.

But, NOW....his granddaughter, Darian, our school nurse's daughter is having seizures and they are not sure why.  She is in college.  They have put her on a strong dose of medications to stop the seizures....she was having several a day, but the medication is causing her not to be able to function well.  She can't go to school or go to work or drive.

They are running tests on her.  Prayers Appreciated.............because, as we all know........PRAYER CHANGES THINGS.

Also, pray for our school nurse, Autumn.  Two weeks before her dad's surgery, her grandmother had a stroke and she has been helping with her.  Then her dad had the surgery...out of the states and was not doing well..............and NOW....her daughter's seizures.  That's a lot on he plate.

PRAY..............thanks in advanced for the prayers.

Three Years

Happy 3rd Birthday to this little firecracker....Kinley Grace.  We thank God for her and her precious brother everyday.
February 10, 2014

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Encounter #3

One short afternoon.....and we had not one but three encounters where we were able to share about Jesus in unconventional areas.

The last place was in the lobby of Captain Jim's Seafood Buffet.

The four of us ate dinner there, where we stuffed our faces with some of the best crab legs you've ever eaten.  Smile.

As the guys were paying......the little marketing man that stands off to the side and tries to sell you "tickets and time shares"....looked up and me and asked what did our shirts mean.  To make it easy, I said..........it means Give HIM (and I pointed up) Tennessee.  He asked if we were part of a group. 

I told him that we just left the Tennessee Baptist Bi-Vo Pastors and Wives Conference and a year ago when we were at the same conference and her Dr. Randy Davis share about the millions who do not know Christ and has no church affiliation.........six of us got under conviction and the GiveHIM Tennessee Ministry was began.  In this past year, we have reached out to the community in many, many ways.....which we shared with him.

He pulled all four of us over and began to share his story.  He is from Tennessee.....in fact, the Harriman area, but has lived most of his life in Texas.  Him and his wife just moved to the area two years ago.

They were one of the many, many that lost their homes in the Smokey Mountain fires a few months ago.  He showed us pictures on his phone.  He showed us his two vehicles before the fires and then after the fires.

The day of the fire.....he and his wife left.  He took $8,000 cash and gave it to his wife who put it in her purse.  Part of the way down the mountain, there was a huge burning tree across the road so they had to get out and walk.........falling and tripping along the way.  They finally got to an area where a shuttle picked them up and took them down to a shelter.

At the shelter, they discovered that in the mist of trying to find safety, his wife lost the money.

He was upset.......angry........and torn to pieces....................
Until a man came into the shelter crying and sobbing uncontrollable.  He soon discovered that the man was the one they showed on the news later...............he had lost his wife and two children in the fires.

Our marketing man said he had to stop right there and ask forgiveness to God because he had so much to be thankful for.  The money no longer meant anything.

He said coming off those mountains that day....there were lots of praying atheists......who in the mist of the storms found God.

He said that the local folks in and around the area are just poor folks..........but they have pulled together and opened their homes and given all they have.  He was praising God for the Christian Love that had been shown to them.

He also sang Dolly Parton's praises.  He said that he and his wife were some of the lucky ones...............they had insurance.

But because of the many, many claims, it may be months before they receive their money.  Dolly is giving everyone who lost their home $1,000 a month for six months.  He and his wife had just received their second check. 

We stopped right there............joined hands and the five of us PRAYED and thanked God for taking care of Richard and his wife and the others in the area..............and we prayed for the GiveHIM Tennessee Ministry.

What a blessing it was to meet Richard.

The GiveHIM Tennessee shirts have opened the doors.  We all look forward to the day that we get to share about the shirt with a lost person............and hopefully lead them to Christ. 

Please keep praying for us and for the GiveHIM Tennessee Ministry.  Our ministry supports all of the expenses of the activities outside of the four walls of the church.........but our church and church family help support the ministry with their :man-power".  Our church is a very big part of this ministry.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Encounter #2

Yesterday, I mentioned about us having a prayer meeting in the middle of the Smokey Mountain Flea Market......

When we left there, we made several other stops, one being the "Red Buildings" on the right in Pigeon Forge, where we went into the Corningware Outlet.  (I'm obsessed.  You NEVER know what you might find in the basement bargain area....smile)  I DID find cake pans for $1 each.

Remember....all four of us still have our GiveHIM Tennessee Shirts on.  The guy that was waiting on us as we checked out.........asked what that meant.  Because of that....we were able to share with him about the GiveHIM Ministry and share about Christ.  We discovered that he was a Christian and is on fire for the Lord.  He even invited us to his church and also told us a couple of other churches that we might enjoy visiting.

He had asked about the shirts and how he could get one.  We gave him the information.

After Christians hear what the shirts mean..........Give HIM (Christ) Tennessee and reach the lost souls.............they want a shirt.
Tennessee, non-church going people have bought the shirt too..........because they are Tennessee Fans and just want an Orange Tennessee.
We are from Alabama..............so we ROLL TIDE....just like Bro. Randy Davis and Jeanne.  I tell everyone that wearing the shirt shows everyone how passionate we are about this ministry....................that's the only way you would get us in an orange Tennessee shirt. 😉
If any of you are interested in ordering a shirt..............we have a website.......
www.giveHIMTennessee.com.  The short sleeve tee shirts are $10.  We are in the process of ordering long sleeved ones.  They will be $20.
Back to our Encounter #2.  Right in the middle of the Corningware Outlet, we were able to share about how God was working in our lives..................God opened the doors by using the shirts.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Encounter #1

Last year I shared about attending the Bi-Vo Retreat and six of us got under conviction about the millions lost in Tennessee and we prayed.....and began the GiveHIM Tennessee Ministry.  (Which essentially is a ministry where you step OUTSIDE THE FOUR WALLS of the CHURCH......and minister to the community.)

We had a vendor booth set up with our tee shirts, caps, bracelets, etc. this year and on Saturday morning, Roger shared with the group about our ministry.  We all had our GiveHIM Tennessee shirts on.

Three couples from our church, once again attended the Retreat.  Four of us stayed an extra night and reflected over the sessions and fellowships of the retreat.  All four of us had our shirts on..............two long sleeve tees, one tee shirt and a gray fishing shirt with the logo on it.

PEOPLE NOTICED THE SHIRTS.  Many...just looked and kept walking.

Last year, a lady at the Smokey Mountain Flea Market inspired us to sell tee shirts to support our ministry....although she did had no idea that we would take her advice and use it to meet our needs.  She overheard us talking about witnessing to more people and how we were limited because of funding, etc.

She joined our conversation.  She a previously overheard us talking about the Ladies' selling tee shirts with our church name on it.........to help fund their "Women of Joy" Conference.  During our current conversation she mentioned that we could sell secular tee shirts and use the money to do God's work.  We took her suggestion....ran with it and the rest is history.

We visited back to the flea market and brought her a tee shirt and shared our journey with her.

She wound up almost shouting right in the middle of the flea market.  We joined hands and PRAYED....with everyone walking by and looking.

What an opportunity.  The next few days I will share two more times that on that one day because of our shirts, we were able to share about the lost of Tennessee and our ministry.